, Standing portrait of a nawab Enlarge 1 /1
Deccan painting, possibly Machilipatnam style Standing portrait of a nawab c. 1780 Place made: Andhra Pradesh, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, miniatures, opaque watercolour , gold opaque watercolour, gold leaf Support: paper
Primary Insc: Inscribed upper centre above image, in pencil in Telugu
Tertiary Insc: Inscribed lower right edge below image, in black ink "G-AP.257". Inscribed on verso upper right edge, in blue ink "GA.P.257".
Dimensions: image 19.6 h x 12.4 w cm support 25.9 h x 16.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1416
Subject: Portrait: male
  • Acquired by Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet, while stationed in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, between 1800 and 1820
  • probably exported from India by Henry Russell, 1820
  • probably held in the collection of Sir Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet, of Swallowfield Park, Reading, Berkshire, England, 1820-1852
  • after the death of Sir Henry Russell in 1852 the collection may have passed by descent through various successive generations of the Russell family, but it was dispersed by sale at some point between 1852 and 1952
  • with Walker Galleries, London, England, 1952 or before
  • who sold it to Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1952
  • held in the collection of Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson and the late Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, Pasha, both of Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk, England, 1952-1953
  • who gave it to the Commonwealth of Australia, 1953
  • held by National Library of Australia, Canberra, after transfer from London, 1954-1991
  • transferred to the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 1991.
  • The collecting history of this painting is unconfirmed between its creation and the earliest confirmed transaction, its purchase in Hyderabad between 1800 and 1820. A further break in the known provenance exists between the death of Sir Henry Russell in 1852 and the appearance of the painting at Walker’s Galleries, London in 1952. The National Gallery of Australia welcomes further information regarding its history of ownership in either of these periods.

The interest in portraiture and its focus on individual likeness at the Hindu Rajput courts in northern India was spurred by the assimilation of Mughal culture and marked a departure from traditional conventions of representation. The most popular was the standing portrait, often showing the subject in exquisite robes, fine jewellery and bearing a sword or in this case a punch dagger [katar], which confirmed allegiance to the kshatriya or warrior caste of Hindu society.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label